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Most of these “Leadership Proverbs” I’ve just picked up, absorbed and imbibed by some process of osmosis along the way and don’t know exactly whom they originated from. But when I know I’ll make reference, and when I don’t it’s not that I’m ungrateful or that I want to appear like a genius. It’s genuinely that I can’t remember. So if I’ve flogged something from you let me know and I’ll happily acknowledge it.

You’re just the leader

Leadership is a high calling. It is a difficult skill-set. It demands a lot. It requires much. But at the same time we don’t want to overstate it. When you lead a team you’re not necessarily the greatest person in the room. You’re not necessarily the smartest person in the room. Your idea won’t necessarily be the best idea. You’re just the leader.

You don’t need to come up with all the ideas or all the answers. Your job is to lead. Your job is to raise the question. Or perhaps create an environment where there is safety for others to raise the question. It’s your job to help the group think through the question, brainstorm possible solutions, discuss those options, then decide on a course of action. Your job then is to make sure people understand the problem and how this solution might address that problem. Your job is to make sure people understand their roles and responsibilities in making that solution happen. Your job is to keep people focussed and energised on the task. And your job is to ask the questions to see if the solution is actually solving the problem.

But none of that requires you to be the smartest person in the room or to be the one who thinks up the perfect solution. You’re just the leader. Your job is to make sure problems do get raised, solutions are put forward and that everyone agrees to go after one of those solutions. You don’t need to have all the answers. What you need is to be able to draw the answers out of the people in the room. Your job is to harness the collective brilliance of the room, not to be the sole font of brilliance in the room.

You’re just the leader.